As Skokie and surrounding communities observe a seasonal increase in rodent activity following several consecutive mild winters, the Village is taking an aggressive and coordinated approach to rodent control and is adding new resources to help reduce the rat population.
The Village’s Health & Human Services (HHS), Community Development, and Public Works departments and Village Manager’s Office meet regularly to address rodent control issues and coordinate the Village’s response. Strategies employed by the Village include:
- Surveying hotspots.Village staff visit areas identified to have the highest density of observed rodent cases, increasing education, enforcement and treatment in these areas. This includes:
- Surveying for rat burrows in publicly accessible areas and notifying property owners if activity is observed so that treatment can begin
- Proactively identifying and citing property standards violations that contribute to rodent activity
- Surveying garbage carts and dumpsters for damage, and visiting one day prior to scheduled pickup, working with properties that may need additional refuse or recycling capacity
- Baiting. When community members report rodent issues, the Village will survey the area and provide free rat control treatment if rat burrows are observed. This includes placing rodenticide inside active burrows. New this year, the Village is also:
- Hiring two additional part-time staff positions focused on rat control
- Utilizing a new pest control provider, Platinum Pest Solutions, to increase service reliability
- Exploring the use of additional, non-bait treatment options on a pilot basis to gauge efficiency and effectiveness
- Educating residents and businesses. Staff are distributing rodent control educational materials directly to residential properties and businesses located in areas with a high density of observed rat activity. Information is also being shared with the general public through the Village’s weekly e-Newsletter and quarterly paper newsletter, NewSkokie, mailed to all households.
- Strengthening ordinances and enforcement measures. The Village is reviewing existing regulations related to waste management, sanitation and building maintenance, and strengthening enforcement measures to bring violations into compliance more quickly. In April, the Village Board also approved an ordinance banning the use of platform bird feeders in Skokie, which can serve as a food source for rodents and other pests. View more bird feeder tips.
Controlling the rodent population requires a communitywide effort. In addition to eliminating sources of food, water and shelter for rats on their property, community members should report any rodent issues to the Village promptly, and help spread awareness to their neighbors.
View the Village’s article, “Five ways to discourage rodents.”
FAQ: What about feral cats?
Although some neighboring communities are piloting feral cat programs as part of their rodent control efforts, at this time, the Village’s Health & Human Services Department is not recommending feral cat colonies, which can have a significant impact on birds and other wildlife, and can lead to other sanitation and nuisance issues. The Village will continue to monitor and deploy best practices for rodent control.